Citi confident with capital levels as CEO tours Asia
Citigroup is comfortable with its capital levels and is not seeking new funds from outside investors, a source briefed on the matter said.
Shares of the largest US bank fell to a nine-year low earlier after Sameer Al Ansari, head of the Gulf investment agency Dubai International Capital, said Citigroup needs more funds, even after raising $30 billion (Dh1.1trn) from investors including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
“It’s going to take more than that to rescue Citi,” Al Ansari had told a private equity conference.
Also weighing on the shares was a research note in which a Merrill Lynch analyst slashed his earnings forecast for the bank, citing a possible $15bn write-off this quarter related to mortgages. Citigroup declined to comment.
According to another report, Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit is making his first visit to Asia since taking the helm, sources with knowledge of the situation said, amid speculation that the biggest US bank could face more mortgage write-downs.
“He was in Beijing and Shanghai on Monday and Tuesday, he’s in Hong Kong yesterday and in Seoul today,” said one source, who was not authorised to speak to the media about the trip. “He’s here to meet clients."
Pandit visited Hong Kong a day after Citigroup shares sank to their lowest in more than nine years.
Late on Tuesday, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters in New York that Citigroup was comfortable with its capital levels and was not seeking new funds from outside investors.
Asia has been a bright spot for the bank, making a net profit of $4.6bn last year and enabling Citi to report 2007 global net income of $3.6bn despite a record $9.83bn fourth-quarter loss tied mainly to mortgage write-downs. Since November, Citigroup has raised some $30bn from investors including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
Al Ansari said earlier Citigroup might need “a lot more money” from investors, after billions of dollars of write-downs tied to sub-prime mortgages had depleted its capital. (Agencies)
$30bn: Citigroup had raised this amount from investors including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
$15bn: Is the slash in earnings forecast by a Merrill Lynch analyst for this quarter
$4.6bn: Asia was the bright spot for the bank last year, with net profit hitting this mark
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